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Introduction

Even though missiles are believed to be modern weapon systems, there are innumerable references in epics to weapons that were of similar nature. The Mahabharat and Ramayan contain innumerable references to weapon systems that were similar to today's missiles.

In modern day parlance a powered guided munitions is called a missile. It carries a warhead and is propelled by rockets, or engines using turbofan, ramjet or turbojet technology.

There are primarily two different types of modern missiles: ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Ballistic missiles are ammunition that follows a ballistic trajectory, while cruise missiles are ammunition that generates lift and has a high of level accuracy. The ballistic missile is an area weapon, while a cruise missile is a target specific weapon.

Besides references in Ramayan and Mahabharat, there are other fables and histories from other parts of the world where weapon systems that are similar to today's missiles find reference. In the first century after the Christ, aeolipile (the ball of Aeolus, the Greek god of wind) was invented by Hero of Alexandria. It was a rocket like engine.

In 12th century AD, there are references from China about rockets. A few centuries later, references about rockets can be also found in the 'Great Art of Artillery' by Kazimierz Siemienowicz published in the Netherlands.

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